Athletic preparation
for brazilian jiu jitsu



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Why conditioning?

Have you ever wondered how the world’s best athletes prepare for a tournament? Certainly, high-quality training on the tatami is important, but a well-structured strength and conditioning program can give you the advantages you need to push yourself ahead and ahead of the competition.

Having good conditioning for Brazilian jiu jitsu is critical for competitive and amateur BJJ fighters alike. If you are going to compete at the highest level, you cannot afford to run out of energy resources during the fight. For more creative fighters, having a good gas tank allows you to maintain higher intensities longer before exhaustion. 

Even while rolling in training you will be able to last longer and enjoy the workout if you are not dead tired by the third round.

We can provide you with everything you need to improve your strength, minimize the risk of injury, and keep you on the podium. With the combined experience of this outstanding team, you can be sure that your training regimen will be tailored to the unique needs of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

What is preparation for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

If you ask this question to several people, you will probably get a different answer from each one about what it means to be “prepared.” Basically, conditioning is the process of improving your body’s ability to use aerobic (oxygen-based) metabolism as an energy source. 

Without getting bogged down or delving too deeply into the science, there are three basic ways your body provides energy for movement and biological processes. 

These systems are the creatine phosphate, glycolytic, and aerobic metabolic pathways.

Each system is used to some degree during exercise. The intensity of exercise will determine the degree of dependence on each system. We will briefly discuss each to give you a better understanding of the implications for preparation.

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The creatine phosphate system relies on a chemical in our bodies called creatine phosphate that serves to fuel the muscles very quickly. It is mainly used during very intense exercises that can last less than 10 seconds. Heavy squats and explosive lifts are mainly based on this system and can be used to increase the maximum intensity you can exercise.
While explosiveness can be useful for Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the creatine phosphate system is probably the least important when it comes to being conditioned for BJJ. This is not to say that you should never lift heavy weights, but that is a separate topic when it comes to BJJ strength and conditioning.

The glycolytic system relies on glucose as a fuel source in the absence of oxygen. It is mainly used during intense exercise lasting 10-30 seconds through a process called “anaerobic glycolysis.” 

When glucose is used without oxygen present, the end result is lactate molecules. Lactate itself is not responsible for the “burning” you feel during burst exercises, such as intense guard passing during BJJ. However, when you have that feeling, you are using the glycolytic system.

The glycolytic system is important for Brazilian jiu-jitsu because it provides energy for medium-length exercises. Intense fighting and other grappling exchanges will depend heavily on this system. 

Therefore, methods such as circuit training and other intense medium-duration exercises are a crucial component of BJJ conditioning. If you can beat your opponent, you have a distinct advantage in all circumstances.

For exercises lasting more than 30 seconds to one minute, the aerobic system will provide most of the energy for movement. As with glycolytic energy, the aerobic system uses glucose (although it can also use fat, which is a separate topic). 

The key difference between glycolytic and aerobic energy is the use of oxygen to metabolize glucose.

With the aerobic system, there is no lactate accumulation and less “burning” sensation. The aerobic system can provide energy for much longer periods of time, up to several hours provided adequate fuel is available. 

Good aerobic conditioning allows you to sustain greater power output without dipping into the glycolytic system. If you and your opponent both exert the same energy but rely on anaerobic glycolysis, you will tire before the first minute is up.

A well-trained glycolytic and aerobic system is the key to good conditioning for BJJ. If these systems are well trained, you will be able to sustain more power production before you tire. 

Also, if your aerobic system is in good shape, the burn from using the glycolytic system will dissipate much faster.

Some training methods for BJJ athletic training.



One of the main methods used to improve the glycolytic system is high-intensity interval training (HIIT). 

HIIT is typically performed using 20-30 second “work cycles” and active rest periods of similar duration, although this may vary depending on the program. 


You can use a variety of free-body exercises or some equipment when doing HIIT, as long as you are doing it in the correct form. 

These range from jumping rope to air bike to kettlebell exercises and so on, even BJJ drills and rolling can be used for HIIT as long as you are doing it hard enough.

In general, your HIIT intervals should replicate the typical intensity of the sport. Because BJJ often involves bursts of activity followed by short rest periods, the intervals should be relatively short, as should the rest periods.


This type of training includes activities such as long-distance running or swimming. Longer runs are often associated with martial arts conditioning. But still, if you focus too much on LESS and do not do enough interval training, you will not properly stress the glycolytic system and beyond.

However, you can do cardio exercises of long duration, it is a good way to improve the aerobic system. It is much less taxing on the body and joints than HIIT and can be performed more frequently with less risk of injury. A good aerobic system can allow you to sustain higher intensities with less lactate accumulation.


Up your BJJ Game

Improving BJJ

The most important thing you can do to improve your BJJ conditioning is to train BJJ. Doing lots of drills alone will improve your conditioning. And better technique will improve your efficiency beyond what is possible with circuits alone.

Efficiency in your BJJ technique means you waste less energy defending, advancing position, and submitting your opponents. If you fight someone who is above you in technique, your conditioning will probably not matter much, if at all.



There are many good options for conditioning for BJJ. Make sure you do at least three solid days of BJJ training per week, plus recovery. Assuming that is the case, the following is a conditioning routine that does not require hours in the gym. If you are training well with BJJ technique, this routine will benefit you immensely.


Start with three rounds and work your way up to five or six. Then recompose for one week and start again with slightly heavier weights and greater intensity. We recommend you plan to “peak” around week five.
Five sets of 20 seconds active and 20 seconds less active: choose one or more of the following exercises (you can also substitute with similar exercises).

1 – Running
2 – Swing / clean / snatch with kettlebell
3 – Air bike sprint / Assault
4 – The tire flip / bats on the tire
5 – Burpees

Two to three times a week: 30-45 minutes of running, cycling or swimming

This is simply a brief overview to begin to understand conditioning for BJJ. If you would like a more in-depth analysis, contact us and you will receive all the assistance you need.


To define what Functional Training is, we need to establish with respect to what we want to make it Functional.

Functional Training is practiced by athletes of all categories, in all disciplines, through the definition of their own goal in order to improve sports performance.

In fact, a workout can be functional and complementary to disciplines such as artistic gymnastics, ballet, running, tennis, volleyball, and martial arts, by specifically targeting the areas of the body most involved in these activities.


Well-structured strength and conditioning programs should mimic the physiological demands of the sport. This includes reliance on dominant grip exercises and an emphasis on isometric strength. One physiological trait that is truly universal to all types of grips (and therefore a focus of our programming) is the ability to maintain a position gained through isometric strength. 

Commonly referred to as “mat strength,” this ability to maintain tension can mean the difference between finishing a pass you have worked hard for and letting your opponent keep guard.

Because of the intermittent nature of the sport, proper metabolic conditioning is also necessary. High-intensity intervals with a work-rest ratio of 1: 3 can mimic the pace of a typical gi game and have been included in our programming to accustom your body to that kind of stress, preparing you to perform at your best when needed.


Well-structured strength and conditioning programs should work to mimic the physiological demands of the sport. This includes incorporating more explosive movements and isometric contractions, which are typically seen in no-gi grappling matches. 

Explosive movements-such as takedowns and outside passes-tend to be more common in no-gi, but a universal physiological trait for all types of grappling (and thus a focus of our programming) is the ability to maintain a position gained through isometric strength. 

Commonly referred to as “mat strength,” this ability to maintain tension can mean the difference between finishing a pass you’ve worked hard for and letting your opponent keep guard.

Because of the intermittent nature of the sport, proper metabolic conditioning is also necessary. While they tend to be more periods of high or medium intensity work in no-gi than gi, work-rest intervals of 1: 3 mimic no-gi competition and have been included in our programming to get your body used to that kind of stress, preparing you to perform at your best when it really counts.

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Great group to train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with for any level, from beginner to advanced. Right next to the metro so easy to get there. Prof. Luis teaches clear, engaging classes – it’s an awesome way to learn BJJ, get in strong physical and mental shape, and spend time with a great group of people from all over the world (Italy, Venezuela, Germany, Brazil, the UK and Palombara Sabina ;-)). Fully recommended. Give it a try!

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I started training in Roger Gracie Roma and I never stopped, the atmosphere is very familiar. Maestro Luis Senatore is very skilled and does a great job with all levels. Excellent school of Jiu Jitsu. I recommend it 100%.

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